No, it's not the death of network neutrality - not yet anyway. Today the direct operator billing provider MACH won itself a contract with Skype, under which users will be able to purchase Skype credit via their mobile phone bill or pre-paid account. Skype hopes to use this to gain access to revenue it can't lure into direct online spending, both in current markets from people who aren't so inclined and in parts of the world where they haven't managed to penetrate yet much at all.
It certainly makes sense from Skype's point of view, even if it does seem like a bit of an awkward situation. Carriers would rather Skype not exist at all, having them on the bill may be acknowledging the inevitable but it can't be a happy thought given how much revenue Skype takes out of the system these days. And users like me who haven't had a direct billing relationship with an ILEC for many years aren't likely to be terribly interested in rebuilding one either. I like paying for Skype services the way it is now.
But then, I have never understood the fascination people seem to have with paying for things via their phone carrier, whether via swiping their phone instead of a credit card or otherwise. I guess I'm just not as viscerally attached to my phone as I ought to be according to modern society, although on the other hand you'd have to surgically remove my fixed broadband connection.
For now though, it's still vaporware as the offering won't be ready for a month or two and then they have to sign up carriers. Should be interesting to see who is first in line.
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